UWSP  Psychology Dept.  Dr. P's Place  Statistics Site
Statistics for Psychologists - 300/500 (Secs. 5 & 6)
Dr. M. Plonsky- Spring, 2017
(Last update 1/22/17).
Lectures are on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 11-12:15 p.m. in Sci-D216.
Laboratory sections are on Mondays & Wednesdays from 12-1:50 p.m. in Sci-D214.

Please bookmark this page, print it, & use it as a reference throughout the semester.

Contents & Resources
Course Description - goals, books, attendance, exams, homework, grading, expectations, additional issues, contact info.
Tentative Class Schedule
Psychological Statistics Hypertext (Index) - notes, lab exercises (& answer keys), Minitab tutorials, HWs, etc.
Grade Postings (Grading Code Collection Form - please fill out during the first week of class).

Course Description

Our main goal will be to learn a variety of statistical techniques which are useful in scientific research. We will also try to learn the rationale behind the techniques and will place emphasis on the application of these techniques to psychology. Finally, since statistical calculations are typically performed with the aid of computers, we will learn how to use the Minitab statistical computing program and a little bit of the Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.

These days, educational institutions talk about Learning Outcomes which are descriptions of what students should be able to know and do following a particular course or program. UWSP identifies the following Learning Outcomes for courses satisfying the Quantitative Literacy requirement of the UWSP General Education Program. Thus, by completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Select, analyze, and interpret appropriate numerical data used in everyday life in numerical and graphical format.
  2. Identify and apply appropriate strategies of quantitative problem solving in theoretical and practical applications.
  3. Construct a conclusion using quantitative justification.

More specifically, the American Psychology Association (APA) provides the following related learning outcomes. By successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Explain different research methods used by psychologists. (APA Objective 2.2)
  2. Interpret basic statistical results. (APA Objective 2.3.a)
  3. Distinguish between statistical significance and practical significance. (APA Objective 2.3.b)
  4. Describe effect size and confidence intervals. (APA Objective 2.3.c)
  5. Use appropriate software to produce understandable reports of statistical analyses in APA style. (APA Objective 6.2)

pic of book cover B. BOOKS & SUPPLIES
We will use two texts. One is available online and the other in print (available from the college bookstore):

  1. Plonsky, M. (2015). Psychological Statistics: An Online Hypertext (Vers. 3.22). Retrieved from the Web January 18, 2016. http://www4.uwsp.edu/psych/stat.
    This is a comprehensive Hypertext. It has the course lectures, laboratory session exercises (& answer keys), Minitab tutorials, and various other resources that we will use in the class. It will be best for you to print at least some of this. I will talk about and give tips for this the first day of lecture, so please hold off on any printing until then.

  2. McCall, R. B. (2001). Fundamental Statistics for Behavioral Sciences (8-th edition). CA: Brooks Cole.
    This text is a supplement to the course. It covers the same material and uses the same mathematical notation system as what we will use in class. It is noteworthy that it has exercises at the end of each chapter (including Appendix 1), which it then provides answers for in Appendix 5 (beginning on Page 502). These exercises can be useful study aids.

The computer programs we will use are accessible from all campus computers via the start menu (MS Excel) or via the Network Menu (Minitab). The software can also be accessed from your home or dorm room via the Remote Computer Lab.

You will need a handheld calculator; a simple one with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (as well as squares & square roots) will do fine. You will also need some type of storage media (flash drives, cloud drives, etc) for work we do on the computer. UWSP gives you cloud storage (H: drive) as part of your student account. Note that while you are welcome to use your cell phones as calculators in class and during laboratory sessions, their use will not be permitted during exams.

I strongly recommend that you read Appendix I in McCall (a review of basic mathematics) as soon as possible. If you do not feel comfortable with this material, study it until you do. If you need help, find me, our Teaching Assistant, a friend good in math, or the reference cited in McCall's Appendix. If you still do not feel comfortable with this material, I recommend that you postpone taking this course until you do (in other words, drop the course ASAP). If you don't master the material in Appendix I (to about 80% proficiency), you will have great difficulty in this class and will most likely fail. Thus, it is important to address the issue of whether you are prepared for this class quickly.

According to the university Attendance Policy, you are to "Attend all your classes regularly". While I do not formally take attendance, it is unlikely that you will do well in the course if your attendance is poor. This is due to the difficulty and cumulative nature of the material. It requires in class discussion where questions are asked, answers are given, and understanding is more likely to be obtained.

All of the lectures are available as part of the online hypertext. You are expected to print out the material. It is best if you study the relevant material before coming to class. The purpose of the lecture will be to carefully go over this material and to allow for questions to make sure you thoroughly understand it.

The primary purpose of the laboratory sessions will be to provide you with hands-on exercises relevant to the material covered in lecture. (These exercises, as well as the answer keys to them, are also available in the online hypertext.) A secondary purpose of these sessions is to provide time to go over homework assignments and exams. Note that the laboratory sessions during the first week of classes are canceled.

If you miss a lecture or laboratory session, it will be to your benefit to find out what occurred during that session from a classmate. Also, while you are only scheduled for one laboratory session, you are welcome to attend either or both. If you have to miss your scheduled session for whatever reason, I encourage you to try to attend the other section offered that week.

Four exams will be given. Each will consist of a mixture of multiple choice questions, short answer, essay, and written problems, etc. The exams will primarily cover material since the previous exam. However, the material is cumulative and thus the exams will reflect that. The final, in particular, tries to pull all of your skills together and thus has more of a cumulative element than the other exams.

You are encouraged to use calculators during class as well as during exams and I will provide you with a copy of the formulas shown on the inside covers of the textbook as well as statistical tables for use during exams. Note that you are required to print (rather than using cursive) on the exams. If you are wearing a hat with a brim, I will ask you to turn it around or take it off when taking exams. I will post exam scores on the web after each of the exams for students who give me a code to do so. By the way, until I post the grades for the first exam, you will be able to see the grades I gave the last time I taught this course at the grade posting link. Lastly, testing accommodations for students with disabilities are coordinated through the Disability and Assistive Technology Center on campus. Please be sure to take care of these arrangements well ahead of time.

Homework (HW) assignments will be due on (most) Fridays at 11:15 a.m. The tentative schedule below includes links to the HW assignments as well as the week they are due. Some points to note include:


What I expect from you:

  1. To agree to study this syllabus carefully (ASAP) & refer to it when questions arise about the class.
  2. To acknowledge that effort, by itself, is not enough to justify a worthy grade. In other words, you are graded primarily on the merit of your performance in the class rather than the amount of effort you put into the class.
  3. To acknowledge that previous academic preparation (e.g., biology, math, etc.) matters. Those who are better prepared are likely to do better in the class.
  4. To attend class & give your full attention to the material, as well as conduct yourself in an appropriate manner (e.g., not having personal conversations during lectures or performing other activities that disrupt the class). As noted earlier, I believe class discussion to be a necessary ingredient for the class to accomplish its goals. Thus, if class participation is not forthcoming, I will call on people at random.
  5. To meet the obligations of the course (e.g., reading, assignments, etc.) and not make excuses for your failure to do so.
  6. To treat everyone in class, including the professor, with respect.
  7. To check your university email account several times each week. I will make announcements via this medium.
  8. To not plagiarize or otherwise steal the work of others.
  9. To understand & adhere to your Rights & Responsibilities as a UWSP student.  
  10. To turn off or silence cell phones when in class.

What you can expect from me:

  1. To manage the class in a professional manner. This may include educating you in appropriate classroom behavior. While I am quite tolerant of inattentiveness, I am not at all tolerant of disruptive behaviors.
  2. To prepare carefully for each class & begin & end it on time.
  3. To try to learn your name (if class size permits) & to recognize your individuality & treat you with respect, as well as to be honest with you. I apologize in advance for being bad with remembering names.
  4. To treat all students equally. Thus, I will not discriminate on the basis of your identity, appearance, gender, race, creed, color, viewpoints, disability, whether I like you or not, or anything else.
  5. To have 3 office hours each week during which you are welcome to stop by (no appointment necessary). See contact info for more detail.
  6. To give grades primarily based on the quality of your work.
  7. To return your grades quickly (with your permission) & with detailed feedback. For example, I will provide you with an overall estimate of your grade prior to the 10th week of the semester drop deadline. In addition, students wishing to go over their exams with me individually, are welcome to come by during my office hours.
  8. To be honest about what I know. If I do not know something, I will say so (and then I will probably look it up).
  9. To treat any plagiarism, cheating, or other violations of academic integrity harshly.
  10. To silence my cell phone when in class.


My office is located in Science B-341. I will have office hours Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12:15-1:15 p.m., and Wednesdays from 3-4:00 p.m. (or you can arrange to see me by appointment at some other mutually convenient time). Note that my office hours do NOT require an appointment. If my door is closed, please knock. You can see a visual of my schedule here. You can reach me at 346-3961 (and please leave a message if I am not available) or through electronic mail at mplonsky@uwsp.edu. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

When sending me an email, please following the directions below carefully. It will ensure a more timely and relevant response from me. I typically reply within 1-2 business days.

  1. Use the “Subject:” line. It should summarize the point of the email in a couple of words.
  2. Tell me which class is involved. I typically teach 3 classes & have about 100-250 students each semester.
  3. Write professionally. In other words, use whole words and sentences, unlike texting where you might use the minimal amount of letters you can get away with. A worthy website regarding this issue is Netiquette by C. Pirillo.
We will have a Teaching Assistant for this course. Contact information and office hours for this person will be provided via email during the first week of classes.

Tentative Class Schedule

Barring illness on my part or other such unforeseen emergencies, we will stick with this schedule. If changes are necessary they will be announced in class and via email. Note that links to the lecture topics, laboratory exercises (with answer keys), MTB tutorials, and other such resources are most easily navigated to via the index of the online hypertext.

1 1/23-26 Orientation & Introduction Appendix 1 *Canceled* none
2 1/30-2/2 Research Design Chap. 12 Math Review 1
3 2/6-9 Preliminary Concepts Chap. 1 Prelim Concepts 2
4 2/13-16 Distributions & Graphing Chap. 2 Distributions 3
5 2/20-23 Central Tendency Chap. 3 Exam 1 Review  
6 2/27-3/2 Variability   CT & Variab 5
7 3/6-9 Relative Standing Chap. 5 Relat Stand 6
8 3/13-16 Correlation Chap. 7 Correlation
Exam 2 Review
-- Spring Break --
9 3/27-30 Hypothesis Testing Chap. 8 Dichotomous 8
10 4/3-6 One Sample Tests Chap. 9 1 sample 9
11 4/10-13 Two Sample Tests Chap. 10 2 sample 10
12 4/17-20   "   Exam 3 Review  
13 4/24-27 Simple ANOVA Chap. 14 1 way ANOVA 11
14 5/1-4 Factorial ANOVA Chap. 15 2 way ANOVA 12
15 5/8-11 Nonparametrics (if time permits)   Exam 4 Review 13
5/17-We FINAL EXAM (8-10:00 a.m.)  

UWSP Psychology Dept. Dr. P's Place Statistics Site Comments? mplonsky@uwsp.edu.